Former President Donald Trump called a witness in the House Jan. 6 Select Committee probe, the committee’s top Republican said Tuesday—a potentially illegal act that the panel has shared with the Justice Department.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney casually dropped the possible bombshell as the committee wrapped up its latest hearing.
"After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in one of our investigations. A witness you have not seen in these hearings. That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump's call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call,” Cheney said.
“Their lawyer alerted us. And this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice,” she continued. “Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously."
Witness tampering is illegal. It’s unclear what, if anything, the Justice Department will do with the information, however. It’s also not certain that Trump even knew he was calling a committee witness; Cheney didn’t say who Trump was trying to reach, or provide evidence that Trump was definitely trying to tamper with the committee’s work.
But Cheney has repeatedly teased major news as the committee wraps its recent hearings that later bear fruit.
During the conclusion of the committee’s last hearing, Cheney showed two text messages received by other committee witnesses from pro-Trump loyalists implying that they should keep their mouths shut.
“[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition,” the message said.
That message was later revealed to have been sent by an ally of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Meadows aide.
Hutchinson was one of many former aides who had their legal bills paid for by Trump’s team, a potential conflict of interest. She later switched lawyers, reportedly because that first attorney seemed a lot less interested than she was in being straight with the committee—then delivered damning testimony to the committee.